The Straight Talk Express appears to be out of gas: As Barack Obama takes a victory lap for the $32.5 million his campaign brought in this quarter, John McCain's campaign is cutting staff and salaries in order to cope with the relatively paltry $11 million it raised in the same time period.
McCain campaign manager Terry Nelson told reporters today that he and his colleagues expected to raise $100 million over the course of the campaign. In the first quarter of this year, McCain raised just $13.6 million. With $11 million more this quarter, the Arizona senator is well behind where he needs to be, and Nelson said the campaign is downsizing to adjust to that new "reality."
Nelson, who will be working for free for a while now, said the campaign will be dumping 50 staffers and cutting salaries for others and will need to consider taking public financing. Does this mean that McCain may be on his way out of the race? "Ridiculous," Nelson said, arguing that voters won't even begin paying attention to the presidential campaign until the fall.
Maybe that's true, but we're having a hard time seeing how time is on McCain's side here. In a Fox News poll taken a year ago, McCain was the favored candidate of 26 percent of Republican voters. In the most recent version of the poll, his support has dropped to 17 percent.